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January 12, 2017

Online computer training in theory is a cheaper and easier way to train many people in an organization. There are many online training platforms (say Lynda.com & Udemy) that provide a whole range of training resources. Why is face to face training still used and not phased out? I will seek to answer some of those questions through my experience in running a training organization.

What is online training?

‘Online’ Training can encompass a range of training delivery methods including:

Webinars

This is a remote hook up of someone doing a training presentation in a location removed from the audience. You will be watching the presentation and may have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation in a Q and A session.

Videos

Can be a recording of a past webinar or simply a recorded presentation which had no audience. For example, a youtube recording.

Interactive courseware

In my experience the most effective form of online training is interactive courseware. Interactive courseware requires you to answer questions after the concepts have been shown to you. This ensures that you have been paying attention to the presentation and have understood the concepts that have been presented before you.

So against a background of a rising number of online training options why is face to face training still a popular training method. Here are my reasons:

  1. Human interaction – a real person speaking to you will generally hold your attention more than a recorded presentation.
  2. Ability to ask questions - group discussion, go off script, sharing experiences and the ability to ask and listen to questions posed by others is a major advantage. The questions enable the participant to avoid the learning dead ends and propel the learning of the participant further and quicker.
  3. Time poor participants – face to face training such as a public courses allow the participants to spend a day focused on professional development without the distractions of work and home.
  4. Not all participants are suited to online training – some find online training intimidating or even after attending the training the participant has not improved their knowledge, skill or understanding of the software - a bad outcome. A good face to face trainer will tailor their language, pace and delivery to ensure participants can get a positive outcome from the training.

Who gets the most out of online training:

  1. The IT savvy – who already have a good knowledge of IT. Therefore, are able to transfer knowledge and skills already attained to avoid the learning dead ends.
  2. Where the content is short and targeted. Online training focusing on some specific concepts that fits the participant’s particular need. For example, short YouTube clips.
  3. Focusing on software or content that is already familiar to the participants. For example, online training that is focused on updates or new features.
  4. Organisation where staff are already somewhat used to online training.

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